It's important to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your students. Regular communication helps you build a strong teacher presence within your online course, and helps maintain student engagement with the content and activities involved in the course.
Which tool should you use?
Moodle offers a number of ways in which you can do this, for different purposes. You are not expected to use all these modes. Choose, from the following list, perhaps the best 1 to 3 modes of communication that suit your learning and teaching purposes, and use them well, rather than trying to manage multiple communication arenas and risking falling behind in some.
|So you want to...||...to achieve this outcome.||Use this Moodle tool|
|Configure your message notifications and help students configure theirs||Maintain regular communication with students, distribute announcements and disseminate news. Configure how to receive system notifications such as assignment submissions etc.||Configure notifications|
|Send all students in your course a message, with an attachment||Distribute course announcements and course files that students need to download. Make one way announcements rather than initiate a two-way discussion.||News forum or Send Email Tool|
|Send all or selected students a message, with an attachment||Follow-up students privately if they are not participating or making progress. See everyone who is in your course and how recently they've been there.||Send Email Tool|
|Send all or selected students an urgent message (without an attachment)||Distribute urgent course announcements such as the cancellation of a class or room change.||Send Email Immediately Tool|
|Message an individual student who's online at the same time as you (no attachment)||See everyone else who might be on right now and connect with them to discuss pressing matters. Promote social presence in a fully online course by initiating conversations with students. Quick short messaging and synchronous (real time) online conversations outside of scheduled chat sessions.|
|Find out what has happened recently inside the course and encourage students to learn by observing activity of their peers within the course site and collaborating with each other||
View course activity, such as updated resources and activities, forum posts and assignment submissions, since the user last accessed the course.
Encourage students to share their ideas and comments and message one another.
Other Blocks (e.g. Recent activity, Comments, Messages block)
|Provide students with a welcome message, photo of yourself and your contact details||Promote a personalised welcoming course environment that motivates and supports students,||HTML Block|
|Send a group message/email||Coordinate a group project; set a group task; deliver feedback on group project progress||Send Email Tool|
|Post to a specific group in a "separate groups" forum, with attachment||Coordinate a group project; set a group task; deliver feedback on forum discussion||Forum|
|Set up two-way asynchronous text-based communication between various individuals, with attachments||Mentoring, individual feedback, private communication between roles, including between students||Dialogue|
|Conduct a real-time synchronous text-based discussion in an online chat room||Overcome inability of group or class to meet face to face; stay in touch when tutor/student is absent from campus.||Chat|
|Deliver a lesson in a virtual classroom (multiple features)||Overcome inability of class to meet face to face||Blackboard Collaborate Ultra|
|Conduct a quick, single-question poll among your students (ungraded; multiple-choice question only)||Research student preferences about a proposed activity or find out what are their misconceptions when learning something new to inform your teaching approach|
|Conduct a survey among your students (ungraded; identified or anonymous; choice of text, multiple choice and numeric answers)||Gain feedback on your teaching, or on a specific part of your course|
|Gather data from your students (ungraded; greatest variety of question types)||Gather data about students' opinions|
|Record messages and other voice content||Note that Voice tools are no longer available and have been replaced by the Voice Thread tool.||Voice thread|
The following table tells you when you should expect users to receive the messages you send using various messaging tools in Moodle. This will differ depending on how users have set their own message delivery options in their profile (for email digest type) and message settings.
If you need to by-pass users settings and send an urgent email use the Send Email Immediately Tool.
from which the message
A user has ticked the "Email" check box for the following message settings:
A user has NOT ticked the "Email" check box for the following message settings:
|...and, in their profile, has chosen, for their "Email digest type":|
|"No digest (single email per forum post)"||"Complete (daily email with full posts)"||"No digest (single email per forum post)"||"Complete (daily email with full posts)"|
|Dialogue||Message is sent by email immediately (after 30 minute editing window).||Message is sent by email immediately (after 30 minute editing window).||Message is sent by email immediately (after 30 minute editing window).||User must manually check the Dialogue tool.|
|Send Email Tool||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.|
|Send Email Immediately Tool||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.|
|Forum||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is received with daily digest.||User must manually check the Forum.||Message is received with daily digest.|
|News Forum||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is received with daily digest.||User must manually check Forum.||Message is received with daily digest.|
|Participants list||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||User must manually check Messages.||User must manually check Participants List.|
|Voice Thread||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.||Message is sent by email immediately.|